By Stephen Day
Crowds chanted “Hey Ho! Transphobia has got to go!” while vehicles drove by, many honking in support of the marchers, numbering over 100 people.
Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride, in solidarity with Queer Youth Assemble in Washington D.C., organized the March for Queer and Trans Youth Autonomy in downtown Riverside on March 31.
Crowds assembled at Back to the Grind on University Ave. and passed out small posters that read “Protect Trans Youth” as well as different small flags representing many of the groups under the LGBTQ+ umbrella. Many of the protestors brought homemade signs showing support for transgender youth.
The crowds began marching from the coffee shop around 4:20 p.m. and headed north toward Riverside City Hall.
When the crowd arrived at the City Hall, they gathered around to hear several local politicians and community leaders, many who are a part of the LGBTQ+ Community. Speakers included Congressman Mark Takano, Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes, Board Secretary of the Trans Health and Wellness Center Steff Warsinski, Riverside County Democratic Party Chair Joy Silver and Ward 1 Councilmember Erin Edwards.
The Riverside Resistance Revival Chorus was on hand to sing in honor of those who have died in the LGBTQ+ Community.
Several of the speakers discussed the laws being passed nationwide regarding transgender youth and the damage those laws will cause. Cervantes spoke about AB1314, a California bill that, if passed, would require parental notification of students who come out to their teachers, forcibly outing those students to their parents.
After the planned speakers were finished, members of the community in the crowd were invited to come up on the stage to share their stories, and their calls for advocacy.
Overall, the organizers and speakers found the event to be very successful. “It’s a joy to see this many people in our community come together and say trans lives matter,” Cervantes said.
Brock Cavett, Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride Advocacy Director said to the crowd: “We knew that we had to do what we could here in Riverside, but we had no clue it was going to be such a huge success. Y’all didn’t disappoint!” His statement was responded to with cheers and shouts with one person in the crowd shouting “They can’t keep us down!”
Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride says it is an organization devoted to uniting, educating and celebrating the diverse LGBTQ+ Community.
“We noticed that everyone was looking for something,” David Giron, Riverside LGBTQ+ Pride vice president and fundraising director, said. “And they were all looking for community.”
Elaina Kleven contributed to this story.